Propylene oxide  

If you’re sitting in an office chair right now, you’re probably resting on polyurethane foam. Propylene oxide (PO) is a central precursor for this versatile and widely used material. While competing production processes for the chemical intermediate propylene oxide produce large quantities of by- or co-products, Evonik and thyssenkrupp (tkIS) have established an alternative on-purpose PO process that is substantially resource efficient and sustainable. It is known as “Hydrogen Peroxide to Propylene Oxide” (HPPO) technology.

Propylene oxide (PO) is required to produce polyether polyols, propylene glycols, 1,4-butanediol, and many more. It is mainly applied as a central precursor for polyurethane systems used to manufacture rigid foams used primarily as superior insulation materials, flexible foams used for seat cushioning, bedding, furniture, and non-foams in coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and others. 

Competing production processes for PO produce large quantities of by- or co-products. Evonik and thyssenkrupp (tkIS) have therefore developed and commercialized a smart process that is more efficient and more environmentally friendly. It’s known as “Hydrogen Peroxide to Propylene Oxide” (HPPO), and is licensed by tkIS and Evonik. In the HPPO process hydrogen peroxide is used as the oxidizing agent to oxidize propylene to propylene oxide with only water as co-product. The catalyst system utilized within the HPPO process is based on titanium silicalite (TS-1), a zeolite, in which individual silicon atoms have been replaced with titanium atoms. This unique catalyst has been developed by Evonik and has proven to be excellent for epoxidation and ammoxidation reactions with hydrogen peroxide. 

The PO production plant is combined with an upstream facility for the production of H2O2, for which a catalyst from the Noblyst P® series is also provided by Evonik. It’s a one- package solution with substantial value-increasing advantages compared to conventional PO production routes. Our process has lowered the amount of wastewater, energy consumption, and has eliminated all co-products. There could hardly be an eco-friendlier and more cost-efficient synthesis of propylene oxide!

In combination with the customized TS-1 catalyst from our Specialyst® series, the HPPO process package offers excellent yields and selectivity to propylene for optimized feedstock use. Combining our high degree of expertise in material science with decades of experience in customizing heterogenous catalysts and developing the next generations of Specialyst® PO catalysts, allows us to offer this unique license service package with a constant thrive for performance improvements in process and catalysts. 

Proven for outstanding performance and lifetime in our dedicated lab and pilot plant test facilities, combined with the comprehensive process technology and catalyst support from tkIS and Evonik, your benefits are realized with any catalyst recharge cycle. 

In a nutshell, the benefits from choosing our process package include:

  • Together with our partners, we provide you with an end-to-end solution for green PO production at optimized lifecycle costs. We deliver continuous support after plant start-up to let you enjoy the benefits from the latest improvements in hydrogen peroxide and catalysts.
  • Proven track record of several world-scale HPPO plants installed and supplied globally since 2008.
  • Access to tailored catalysts with long lifecycles, tailored regeneration cycles and optimized PO per catalyst consumption ratio.
  • Only water as an environmentally benign co-product, no markets for by- or co-products are needed.
  • Minimized propylene consumption.
  • The lowest carbon footprint of all PO technologies due to significantly reduced energy consumption and wastewater amounts.

Beyond HPPO, we offer to be your preferred partner when it comes to any development, scale-up and commercial production of continuous process catalyst.